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Former 'Reading Rainbow' host LeVar Burton is vying for the 'Jeopardy!' hosting gig

A petition to have Burton take the 'Jeopardy!' reins had collected over 195k signatures as of Thursday morning as many believe the 64-year-old is the perfect man for the job.

Former 'Reading Rainbow' host LeVar Burton is vying for the 'Jeopardy!' hosting gig
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ LeVar Burton attends the 2020 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on November 03, 2019, in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Ian Tuttle )

Many have attempted to fill Alex Trebek's shoes over the past few months. Following the legendary television personality's death from pancreatic cancer in November of 2020, a series of guest hosts — including former champion Ken Jennings, talk show host Dr. Oz, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — have tried their hand at hosting Jeopardy! to mixed response from the popular game show's loyal fanbase. Whereas guest hosts are expected to continue indefinitely while the search for a new permanent host goes on, longtime fans seem to have already found an ideal candidate to take Trebek's spot behind the podium long term: LeVar Burton.




A petition to have Burton take the Jeopardy! reins had collected over 195k signatures as of Thursday morning as many believe the 64-year-old is the perfect man for the job. "Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational 'Reading Rainbow,' playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' and filling the role of Kunta Kinte in the ever-important mini-series 'Roots,' LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds," the petition states. "This petition is to show Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and producers Mike Richards and Harry Friedman just how much love the public has for Burton, and how much we'd all love to see him as the next host of 'Jeopardy!'"




Burton himself made clear that he's more than up for the challenge earlier this week. Tweeting the link to the petition, he wrote: "Leaving this here in the event the powers that be are listening..." He previously addressed the campaign in November 2020, when it was first made, tweeting at the time: "Even if nothing comes from it, I can’t tell how much how I appreciate all y'alls love and support!"




Burton definitely is as good a fit as anyone to step up to the Jeopardy! podium. Those who've signed the petition cite Burton's status as a major advocate for lifelong learning, a seasoned and respected TV host, and a beloved cultural icon as what makes him the perfect man for the job. "Burton has been most instrumental in helping tell the most critical stories that make up America. From Kunta Kinte in 'Roots' to teaching kids and adults how to explore the world through reading, how to learn from good and bad habits, and best practices to adjust attitudes for the better as host of 'Reading Rainbow," wrote a fan named Rashad Smith. "Even more, as this country deals with the portrayals and perceptions of Black people and their BIPOC and White allies, the culture and communities across the Globe deserve a daily reminder from a Black man in America who is a content and context expert."




"Mr. Burton is a reason why a lot of us read and explore our minds. It will be a huge honor to not only see him as a childhood fan back on TV but on the show that the Great Alex made legendary!! Nobody else is perfect for this position and will honor it," wrote Jamel Eagle. While Burton definitely has the public's backing, it is unlikely that showrunners will announce a new Jeopardy! host any time soon. After all, filling Trebek's shoes is no walk in the park. One of—if not the—most recognizable and well-respected faces in the history of game shows, he almost single-handedly elevated the genre in the public consciousness. Hosting the series for 37 seasons — beginning when it was first revived in 1984 and continuing until his death last year — Trebek won seven Daytime Emmy Awards during that time frame for his work on the show.



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